Buckwheat and Cacao Nib Shortbread

How do you spend your afternoons?

Up until recently, I had no realization of time other than knowing I only slept a few hours a night between a full time pastry gig and evenings pouring drinks at the wine bar. After nearly a year, I finished my diplome of Patisserie and Baking at LCB in Orlando and moved back to St. Augustine Beach, somewhat begrudgingly, but keeping an open mind nonetheless.

I am on the verge of 24, I have two degrees under my belt, and still feel no closer to my dream career (the one that every food blogger has) of working for a cuisine based publication i.e. Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food & WineSomehow I don’t think moving back into a small beach town with a population of less than 13,000 people is going to get me any closer to my goals in life.

While I wait out the grossly common feeling of hopelessness that most people my age face between careers, I will continue to bake, and snap a couple photos along the way… and maybe even take a vacation. When I bake a dessert, it is unnervingly necessary to have at least four elements in that confection. If there’s a sweet element, I want salty or savory plus crunch and tenderness. I like the opposing characteristics that look effortlessly simple. I was originally inspired by this recipe on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. Heidi called them Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies. I’m calling them Buckwheat and Cocoa Nib Shortbread….. dipped in dark chocolate and dusted with red Hawaiian sea salt.

I’m bringing these beauties to an oyster roast tonight. Dressed in my knee high Minnetonka fringe boots that scream “not-so-cold winter on the island,” it’ll look like I’ve   pulled these crispy rich chocolate cookies out of thin air. The real magic? I made the dough last night and sliced it today. The dipping and salt sprinkling can be done in less than 30 minutes, as long as the cookies are cool.

Buckwheat and Cocoa Nib Shortbread adapted from 101 cookbooks

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cacao nibs- I used more nibs in mine
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To dip: 10 oz dark chocolate chips, melted and red Hawaiian sea salt

1. Cream the butter, salt and sugar until smooth. Fold in the vanilla and cacao nibs.

2. Mix together the flours and add them to the butter mixture until a smooth dough forms. Flour the counter top and roll the dough into a log, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight. I chilled mine overnight.

3. Set the oven to 350F. Slice dough 1/4 inch thickness and place on greased baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 14 minutes or less, rotating halfway through so both sides are baked evenly. Let cool completely on pan.

4. When cool, dip half of the cookie in the melted dark chocolate. Dip every cookie in chocolate and lay on wax paper. Sprinkle the sea salt on top of the cookies and place in the refrigerator or freezer to set.

Another nice variation would be to top the dark chocolate with chopped raw nuts or even homemade candied fruit bits.


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